A Meaning of Suffering
When the Apostle Paul wrote these words he had just been through a terrible time of suffering. When he regained consciousness he was surrounded by a circle of disciples who were praying for him. He then revived and went back into the city (Acts 14: 19, 20). Some scholars believe this was when he was caught up into the third heaven which he described in 2 Corinthians Chapter 12.
He is writing to the Corinthians about that awful suffering in the verse quoted above. He is declaring that at least one purpose of that suffering was that he might be equipped to comfort others with the comfort he found when that experience of suffering drove him to the place where he discovered the comfort in God Himself.
An evangelist is one beggar telling another beggar where the bread is, and a minister of comfort is one hurting heart telling another hurting heart where the comfort is. When you need help with a problem your best counselor will be a believer who has experienced that same problem and victoriously worked their way through that problem.
A man fell into a mud hole. He was not able to pull himself out of the hole. A friend saw his plight and jumped into the hole with him because he had been there himself and knew the way out. Are you willing to accept this explanation as at least one reason God has permitted your suffering — that you might be equipped to be a minister of comfort?
Posted by Dick Woodward
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